Another E.Q.C. report – the same old story: disgruntled claimants, botched repairs and no one being made to take responsibility.
After 7 years of dealing with the consequences of the 04 September 2010 and 22 February 2011 earthquakes the latest E.Q.C. report was not surprising in the least, except perhaps with regards to how scathing it was.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Megan Woods has been in the job for 8 months now. Annette King who was appointed Chairwoman of E.Q.C.’s Board has been instructed by Ms Woods to accept the findings and begin implementing the recommendations immediately.
All well and good so far. But having spent most of a decade waiting for satisfactory resolution to their claims and fair, full and final payouts to match, many will be short on patience. Some of the claimants are in their 80’s and should not need to be still dealing with problems that might have started when they were still in their 70’s. These are the people who should be happily living out their final days enjoying their time with their relatives and friends, doing things they like and not having to worry about what the Earthquake Commission is or is not doing about their property.
The Earthquake Commission for its part needs to play along with Mrs King’s implementation of the findings. No time to delay, no games to play – anyone who begs to differ should be shown the door forthwith..
The report, whilst welcome has some serious issues to overcome, namely:
- What will be the period in which claims can be settled – open ended settling periods are not acceptable and have been the cause of considerable and well documented angst among claimants
- Will Cabinet approve the reimbursing of insurance companies if they agree to immediately settle on all over-the-cap claims? Ms Woods says that she will, but given the financial pressure it is likely to add, it remains to be seen if Cabinet will come on board
- The standard of repairs needs addressing – the repairs should not have been signed off in the manner that they were until someone with neutral oversight could check the standard
- Hire the necessary staff to do the job and stop pretending everything is under control when it is clearly obvious that it is not
- Tell E.Q.C. that non-compliance is not an option
It is with guarded optimism that I wait to see what will happen. Having been in Christchurch for all of the magnitude 6.0+ events – 04 September 2011 (7.1); 22 February 2011 (6.3); 13 June 2011 (6.4) and 23 December 2011 (6.0) – as well as nearly all of the aftershocks between magnitude 5.0-5.9 and felt the stress, I can totally understand the frustration and anger. It is long since time to get this mess fixed.